Danny Naveh Demands Explanation of Rice?s Statement

Health Minister Danny Naveh (Likud) said he would demand that the government explain the recent statements of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

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Scott Shiloh, | updated: 14:26

Rice said last Thursday that the expulsion of Jews from their homes in Gaza and northern Samaria must be followed by more Israeli withdrawals and expulsions from portions of the land of Israel conquered in the 1967 Six-Day War.

“Everyone empathizes with what the Israelis are facing. But it cannot be Gaza only,” said Rice.

Rice has stated repeatedly in recent months that the disengagement from Gaza and northern Samaria is only a first step on the way toward establishing a Palestinian state with territorial contiguity.

Naveh wants the government to declare that Israel will not carry out additional withdrawals and expulsions of Jews.

Naveh, along with Likud ministers Yisrael Katz, Limor Livnat, Yisrael Katz, and Tsachi Hanegbi voted against authorizing the continued destruction of Jewish communities in Gaza and northern Samaria at Sunday morning’s cabinet meeting.

Although the vote was mainly a technicality, and the dissenting votes of some Likud ministers were to be expected, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon used the vote as an opportunity to chastise ministers opposed to the expulsion plan.

“There are ministers sitting in the government who are still critical of the government’s action,” Sharon said at the cabinet meeting.

When Naveh asked the prime minister whether he wanted those ministers to leave the government, Sharon answered, “Anyone who wishes to leave the government can leave.”

Last Thursday, Agriculture Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud), worried that the Gaza withdrawal will be followed by the dismantling of more Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria said that “Rice's comments prove there is no basis to the prime minister's statement that there will not be an additional disengagement." he said.

“To my dismay, the unilateral evacuation of settlements from Gaza and northern Samaria creates a dangerous precedent which endangers the legitimacy of Israeli settlement in Judea, Samaria, the Jordan Valley, the Golan Heights and neighborhoods in east Jerusalem," Katz said